Badgerfest Promotions Presents… Badger & The Mushrooms Christmas All Dayer, Rebellion, Manchester – 11/12/21

Badger And The Mushrooms Poster

Badgerfest Promotions Presents…
Badger & The Mushrooms Christmas All Dayer
Rebellion, Manchester,11/12/21
Review by Rob Sutton

It had been a while since I’d last been to the rebellion in Manchester, and since the lockdown there have been many setbacks for the venue. Deansgate station needed work done to it and this in turn caused the closure of Rebellion for a number of months while the work was taking place. This has led to many things in Rebellion suffering. Firstly the entire toilet block had been destroyed, leaving the venue having to replace the facilities with portaloos. Not only that,but the stage itself looked to have been hastily put back together and looked unfinished. This was a massive shame as this venue was one of my favourites to go to. Tonight’s gig was also plagued with numerous technical difficulties and sound issues. Never-the-less the bands made the best out of this situation.

Due to work commitments I didn’t manage to catch World Held Hostage or Mairu.

https://www.facebook.com/mairumetal/

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So first up for me was 40,000 Leagues, a band I have seen many times and each time they seem to get better. The whole band oozes with charisma on stage and are very engaging to watch. Vocally, Nathan’s voice was absolutely on point again, in fact I would say here it was the best I have heard it. Some of the notes he hit were simply stunning, and it was backed with some soaring solos and on point drums. There was a huge amount of crowd participation in this set, most notably ‘story time’ where the whole crowd sits down! While this has been done before, it was something unusual for the Manchester scene, which was great. My only criticism is that the last song did go on a little bit too long for me, but the addition of a Christmas song was very fitting. This was a cracking set and a great start to my day.

https://www.facebook.com/40kLeagues/

Next it was the turn of Clashmute, a band I first reviewed at Badgerfest, where they properly won me over. This set was equally as good, as the band again looked professional on stage, and again gave a show worthy of bigger stages. This gig was the final show for their bassist, and what a reaction they got with pits present throughout their set. The atmosphere was amplified by more cracking breakdowns which had the whole crowd banging their heads. A personal highlight of this set for me was ‘In Virtue’; this song is a proper banger, and Clashmute had the crowd shouting the lyrics back at them. Ryan’s voice has improved massively over the years I have seen them, but tonight didn’t quite match their set at Badgerfest and this did result in some moments of feedback when he cupped the mic. Having said that, this set really got the night going for me; it had everything you want from a Metalcore band. Definitely a fan!

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UK Melodic Death Metal is hard to come by these days, and in Manchester I only really know of one band, Frozen in Shadows. They are made up of members of many other bands, including Footprints in the Custard. You could say they are a super-group. Sadly here they suffered with a lot of technical difficulties which led to the guitars cutting out and almost inaudible keyboards. This was a real shame as at Bloodstock these guys were fantastic, but the whole sound got completely lost. I also felt the drums were overly complicated for the sound they were going for; that’s not me saying the drums are bad, but in some cases you can over play and be overly technical, or throw fills where they aren’t really necessary, and this was an example of that. This took away from some of the fantastic riffs that would otherwise be much more noticeable and also seemed to drown out the keyboards further. As previously mentioned there are members of Footprints in the Custard, and while the genre Frozen in Shadows are going for is completely different, I can’t help but notice the silliness from FITC has transferred over here, and it’s not something I feel works. I’m all for a band being a little silly every now and again but this did feel like a mirror of Footprints’ comedy. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Frozen in Shadows. ‘Alone’ is an absolute belter of a Melodic Death Metal track, but this set fell flat tonight for me.

https://www.facebook.com/frozeninshadows

Gospelhiem I saw a few months ago for their very first show, so I was eagerly awaiting this set to see if they had improved. I was not disappointed. Their confidence as a band has grown immensely, and vocally I could hear them so much more clearly than previously. They created a depressingly dark atmosphere throughout the venue, one which was a great change from the previous bands. I was particularly impressed with Lenore’s voice which was incredibly haunting throughout the set. Gospelheim really have massively improved since last time and I can see why they are getting bigger and bigger gigs thrown their way. They are completely different to anything else in the genre, and I love it. If I had to nit-pick this set, I would say it was a song too long; a half hour set for me would have been absolutely spot on. Definitely a band to watch going forward!

https://www.facebook.com/gospelheim/

Another blast from the past for me was After the Abduction. I have previously seen them on a number of occasions, and played alongside them, so it was nice to see them again. There was a notable change to their line-up, as they have recruited a new bassist/vocalist, although he was in their previous band, The Threat. With this change of line-up also came a slight change in genre, the familiar slams and brees have been replaced by Death Metal grunts. The whole sound was very different from their previous guise, but was a welcomed change. After the Abduction have always been known to play to an exceedingly high standard and this performance was no exception, I don’t think there was a note wrong here. They utilise some lovely chops within riffs to really emphasise their competence, and add a nice breakup of the song. Throw in some ridiculously heavy breakdowns to that mix, and the whole set just felt tight and polished. ATA don’t lack confidence on stage either – each member, including the drummer, can be seen glaring at the crowd, head banging, and generally going mental on stage! Even though ATA did suffer with technical difficulties which completely wiped out the bass, they continued on. Luckily for them this happened during the last song, but it did leave the vocalist/bassist a little lost without his instrument. This was an absolutely stunning set. It was performed perfectly and left me lost for words, outstanding is the perfect phrase for this set.

https://www.facebook.com/AftertheAbductionUK

From downright heavy, to pretty next! Another band I have seen on many occasions is Countless Skies, and by this point I am pretty sure they are sick of the sight of me. Especially after running into them in Slovenia, of all places. Countless Skies hold a special place for me as I am a massive Melodic Death Metal fan, and I have always considered these guys to be amongst the best in the genre! I own every album/EP they have released, and about 3 of their t-shirts. Anyway, enough fanboying! On to their set. It was simply beautiful. The backing tracks were at a perfect level as to not overpower the guitars, and there were some stunning keys underneath what can only be described as breathtaking guitars. Their use of tapping really tugs on your heartstrings and you really feel the emotion within the songs just from the guitars alone. Once you add in the powerhouse of a voice that the bassist possesses, it takes the whole sound to a new level. We were treated to a few new songs from their new album, one of which, ‘Glow’, took up the majority of their set. This is not a complaint though, as it is brilliant. I would have loved this set to have been longer and would also have loved to have heard ‘Ethereal’ again, but I can’t use these points to mark down what was probably the most enjoyable and emotionally powerful set I have seen this year.

https://en-gb.facebook.com/CountlessSkies

Anyone who has seen a metal gig line-up will have probably seen a logo that stands out from all the others. Here it was a colourful, child-like design which looked as if someone was having a joke with the poster. But if you thought that, you would be wrong! Party-Cannon from Scotland are no joke, just heavy as hell fun! They were the last of the original bands tonight and brought with them a party like no other. We had a huge amount of inflatables, as well as bags of party balloons. The crowd went wild for this and we ended up with numerous crowd surfers on top of an inflatable shark (most of whom fell off immediately), and a set that had nonstop circle pits, spin kicks, and general violence! Crowd aside, Party-Cannon play a good mix of grindcore and slam, but their overall sound is very different from the usual slam bands I see them play with. There’s a lot more emphasis on the riffs and the groove within the songs, coupled with some utterly filthy gutturals which make it just damn dirty! They do also add slam elements to their sound, but their breakdowns aren’t the usual slam style. There is a bit more to them than that, and I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly, but damn I like it. Party-Cannon are not only brutal and enjoyable to watch, but also add the element of entertainment when it comes to getting the crowd going. I have not seen a band have this much control over the mayhem that’s ensuing before them, and it is impressive. This was again an absolute blast to watch!

https://www.facebook.com/PartyCannonUK/

We ended the night with Badger and the Mushrooms, a covers band that, obviously, with the name, played Badgerfest. Last time they had a half hour set to open a festival, this time we had about an hour and they were the headliners. Now, obviously being a covers band, I can’t comment on their music creativity, and unfortunately there were quite a few mess ups within the set which were noticeable. Having said that, they are fun, and the whole point of this set wasn’t to be serious or show off. It was to entertain. And that they very much did. While we had the usual Rock/Metal covers of artists such as Disturbed, Metallica and Ozzy Osborne, tonight we had a few extras, including a Christmas song, a ballad from Alter Bridge (blackbird) and my personal highlight, ‘Gay Bar’. I am not going to sit here and tell you this was a brilliant set or musically they’re the best covers band, but what I will say is it was the perfect way to close this all dayer. The whole crowd dancing, the whole crowd singing along, and everyone leaving the venue with a massive smile on their face. That is what Badger and the Mushrooms are about, having a good ol’ party!

This was a fantastic gig with a fantastic line-up, Badger really has a knack for putting on gigs like this now, and I love them. Sadly, the venue not being finished and nearly every set having some form of technical difficulties did let the day down a little. But really this shouldn’t take away from what was a truly awesome gig. I enjoyed every band I saw, and would happily see them again. Badger, you should be proud of this one!

One other note was for the bar man, Jake, who was the most helpful and chatty bar man I have had the pleasure of being served by. He went above and beyond!

Bagerfest Promotions:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images the property of Sheri Bicheno. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Badgerfest 2021: Day 1 – The Bread Shed, Manchester – Friday 15th October 2021

Badgerfest 2021 Poster

Badgerfest 2021: Day 1
The Bread Shed, Manchester
Friday 15th October 2021
Review By Rob Sutton
Photography by Sheri Bicheno

This was a weekend I’d been looking forward to for a long time! Good friends, good bands, and beer. Day one was the shortest of the 3 and only had the main stage open, but this worked nicely as a warm-up into the rest of the weekend.

Kicking things off were Badger and the Mushrooms. By the name of them, I wasn’t expecting anything too serious, and this became immediately apparent, as Danny (Prognosis/Bass) was wearing possibly the darkest sunglasses known to humankind! The whole band has been put together by the main man himself, John Badger, who was in his usual place, behind the kit. Joining him onstage were a selection of the most talented musicians in the Manchester scene, Arun (Beyond Salvation/Guitars), Johnny (Zebedy/Archetype/Guitars). and Nathan (40,000 Leagues/Vocals). All of these guys were there for one purpose only, to kick the festival off in style. There were no original tracks, just a selection of covers, ranging from Rage Against The Machine to Disturbed, all performed flawlessly, really giving the crowd a chance to get a few beers down them while singing along to rock and metal classics. One thing that caught my eye in particular was Nathan’s voice. While I have seen him in his band many times before, this performance really showcases just how good his voice is – he was on point! Great way to kick things off!

Badger And The Mushrooms at Bagder Fest

Next up, and the beginning of the originals, were Manchester based BruteAllies. I have seen these guys before and what stuck in my head was the awesome light up coat worn by the singer, it’s quite something! These guys are loud, and they provided us with some cracking riffs backed with heavy beats, and brute-al Randy Blythe style vocals. The crowd seemed to love it and so did I. The swap between the bassist and guitarist highlighted their ability to play anything on anything, too. This was their first gig back after the global hiatus, and it did feel like there were some nerves on stage (also the joy of being the first band on), so I feel like there is still more energy to come from them,  once they get back into the swing of things. If you like fast, heavy music, these are a band I would recommend!

BruteAllies at Badger Fest

https://www.facebook.com/BruteAllies

From the lights of a coat, to the darkness of blackened hardcore next, from the insanely heavy Grief Ritual, who hail from the South West UK. This performance was in your face and relentless! From intense breakdowns to pained screams these guys had all basses covered. Speaking of bass, the bassist was bouncing around like Tigger on Red Bull! His feet were barely on the ground! To contrast this, the vocalist genuinely looked like he was ready for a cage fight – truly invested and passionate in the music. This was a tight set from a band I honestly had never heard of before, and I found myself headbanging for the entire set, and lapping up every blastbeat and every riff these guys could throw at me. The set flew by and I was left wanting more. One of my finds of the year!

Grief Ritual at Badgerfest

https://www.facebook.com/griefritual

Basement Torture Killings are a band I have listened to for a while now. A punishing grindcore band who leave no teddy bear ungutted in their quest for raw speed and precision. This performance surprised me; I was not expecting the voice I heard to come out of the tiny lady on stage. She has an incredible voice and probably one of the best death metal voices in the underground scene. The music is brutal, and the stage show matches, although in a slightly more comedic way. We witnessed the beheading of a beloved teddy, who’s head made its way onto an audience member’s head, and from what I heard, caught the attention of the Manchester police, too (probably confused). This was a very enjoyable set and continued the heavy theme of the night fantastically.

Basement Torture Killings at Badger Fest

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With the penultimate act of the night, Agvirre, we saw the return of John Badger behind the kit. This was the second time in as many months that I had seen them, and while last time I didn’t quite get into the music, this time was a bit different. I think the bigger stage suited them. I felt the angst in the voice and the pain in the music. While they’re different from the previous 2 bands, being more on the Post-Black Metal side, it still strangely fitted tonight’s theme. Musically, they are very different and grab influences from many genres. They were an interesting and (this time) enjoyable watch, though I’m not sure why the keyboard faces away from the crowd. From the audience comments I heard, they made a lot of new fans, and rightly so. This was a solid, dark, and almost depressing (in a good way) 35 minutes that I would happily watch again.

https://www.facebook.com/agvirrewrath

Tonight’s atmosphere had been building up for one thing, and I’m not talking about a hangover on Saturday morning! I’m talking about UK grindcore legends, Foetal Juice. Somehow, this was actually the first time I have seen them, and I was not disappointed! The speed and technicality these guys displayed tonight was the very reason why they played on the Bloodstock main stage. Pits were in full swing to just about every song, and heads were furiously banging away! These guys provide no rest, just a constant assault on your ear drums. Remaining professional during technical issues is something a lot of bands struggle with, but while there were some issues here,  Foetal Juice powered through, so the energy of their performance didn’t waver in any way. Ending day one with a band like this ensured the audience won’t be able to headbang for the rest of the weekend… Oh well, it was worth it! Perfect headliner to round out day one!

Foetal Juice at Badger Fest

https://www.facebook.com/FoetalJuice

This may have only been the first day, but my neck hurt, I felt an impending hangover looming! Judging by the rest of the audience, I wasn’t going to be the only one feeling a little worse for wear on Saturday morning. Fantastic first day and every band smashed it, bring on day 2!

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images the property of Sheri Bicheno. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.